Arkansas Healthcare

Medicaid Advisory Committee healthcare Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the savings he's projecting from his proposal to shift some Medicaid services to private firms will cut the state's waiting list for developmentally disabled in half.

Hutchinson on Wednesday defended his plan to keep next week's special session agenda limited to his managed care and hybrid Medicaid expansion proposals. The Republican governor is urging lawmakers to keep and rework the hybrid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

Arkansas ranks poorly in a study done by Consumer Reports that reviews medical board websites in all 50 states. The lack of easy access to physician’s records of past disciplinary actions is the primary issue spotlighted by the magazine.

Lisa McGiffert, director of the magazine’s Safe Patient Project, says things are confusing from the beginning, since visitors to the website must click on "Verify License" to access a physician’s profile. She believes a clearer description would make the information more accessible, but says challenges continue as patients move through the site.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will include only two items in his special session call: a bill creating Arkansas Works, and a bill creating a managed care system for some Medicaid programs, his office said Tuesday.

The decision means a bill competing with the managed care bill and supported by some legislators will not be on the call list.

Hutchinson is calling legislators into a health care special session April 6 to consider those issues, to be followed April 13 by a fiscal session, which occurs every even-numbered year.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s confident Arkansas legislators will continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program with his proposed changes. But some lawmakers are more iffy about implementing a managed care program.

A special session on the topic is to begin April 6. The governor says he’s working with lawmakers now to draft the bills, along with industry officials to "make sure we have the right language in the bills and that we have the right safeguards for patients."

Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday that he expects both bills will pass after he works with lawmakers.

A group of five legislators was meeting Monday to prepare an alternative to the managed care bill supported by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Rep. Michelle Gray, R-Melbourne, said the group’s bill would create DiamondCare, a model where a private company would administer parts of the Medicaid program with incentives for cost-effective care.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson looks with reporters at a draft of legislation to make changes to Medicaid.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says his proposal to shift some Medicaid services to private companies broadens the debate about the program's future beyond the hybrid expansion he's urging lawmakers to save.

Hutchinson on Friday called his managed care plan and legislation to rework the state's hybrid expansion "historic." Hutchinson's comments come the day after lawmakers got their first look at the bills outlining the proposals. The Legislature is expected to convene April 6 for a special session focusing on both proposals.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A draft of the Arkansas Works Act of 2016, which would create the program that would replace the private option, is circulating among legislators and includes recommendations made earlier by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Meanwhile, two bills – one meant to produce savings through a managed care model, and one meant to produce savings through a “managed fee for service” model known as “DiamondCare” will begin circulating as early as today, Talk Business & Politics has learned.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s administration is introducing two separate pieces of legislation in the upcoming special session: one that will create his program for continuing the private option, which he is calling Arkansas Works, and one he is calling a “savings bill” that includes a managed care provision and a managed care “bill of rights.”

Hutchinson made the comments Tuesday speaking to a town hall meeting – his first as governor – at Central Baptist College in Conway.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

In an effort to rally public opinion behind his healthcare plan, Arkansas Works, Gov. Asa Hutchinson is holding a town hall meeting Tuesday evening in Conway.

The current version of the healthcare program for over 200,000 low-income Arkansans, known as the private option, will expire at the end of this year if the legislature doesn’t take action.

Asa Hutchinson unveiling his thoughts on Medicaid expansion in early 2015.
Arkansas Times

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is hosting a town hall meeting next week as he tries to build support for his plan to keep the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion.

Hutchinson's office on Wednesday said the governor will host the town hall on his proposal to add new restrictions to the "private option," which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson, a Republican, has proposed renaming the program "Arkansas Works."

The town hall will be Tuesday night at Central Baptist College in Conway.

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